Old Melbourne Gaol
Old Melbourne Gaol
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Step back in time and walk the road to the gallows in a 19th century prison, be arrested in a modern-day Police Station or put yourself on trial in court.Home to Melbourne's oldest prison, historic Magistrates' Court and former Police City Watch House, Russell Street has been at the heart of crime, law and order in Melbourne since the 1840s. Most of Australia’s infamous characters, including iconic bushranger, Ned Kelly and notorious gangster Squizzy Taylor have spent time within the walls of this amazing precinct. A ticket to the Old Melbourne Gaol grants you visiting rights to the past, present and future of crime and justice in Australia.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Central Business District
Full of discovery and delight, Melbourne’s laneways tease the imagination long after you’ve put your weary feet up to rest. They weave through the heart of the city: cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques, throbbing with conversation and espresso coffee. You never quite know what you’ll find around the next corner: cobblestone alleys, old beer barrel hoists and even vats of simmering organic soup. There is the air of Berlin in the street art, a touch of Paris in the umbrella-shaded cafes and, reminiscent of Rome, eateries tucked away in the most unlikely of places. Perhaps you might want a break and cross the Yarra River to Southbank - walk along the promenade, bask in the sun at a waterside bar and decide whether to go to the nearby casino or book a ticket at the Melbourne theatre company.
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • janine m
    New Plymouth, New Zealand65 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting and great attraction
    We visited the OMG in June and we had a great time. We did the Watch House Experience and the guard taking the tour was great!! My husband got fake arrested for shoplifting and it was hilarious - this was included in our ticket price. The gaol is so well set out with very interesting information. We probably spent almost 2 hours there - including the watch house experience - and would recommend this attraction.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 21, 2023
  • Naomi G
    Townsville, Australia145 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Goal is not just the Ned Kelly experience
    Take the tour and make sure you be a part of the Watchhouse Tour. It is worth it. We had a great time hearing the stories, and reading about the inmates of this famous goal. Kids really enjoyed it.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 29, 2023
  • Peter R
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Ghost Tour of Old Melbourne Gaol
    The ghost tour is just fantastic. A great informed journey through time delivered is an enjoyable engaging way by Janet. Didn’t see a lot to ghosts, but came away much better informed about Australia’s colonial past.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled on business
    Written August 6, 2023
  • Tessa S
    Oxford, United Kingdom172 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Landings, hangings and Ned Kelly
    Old gaol right in the heart of Melbourne. Combined ticket to visit City Watch House and Old Magistrates Court. Guided tours. The walls of the prison form part of RMIT University. The old gaol was shut in 1929 - designed around landings with cells running the length. Australia’s infamous Ned Kelly was hung there and some of the site is dedicated to his story. The City Watch House was opened in 1909 but was functioning until 1994. Criminals were held here prior to coming before the court. It’s cramped, hot and atmospheric. Graffiti on the walls of the exercise yards is a poignant reminder of the multitude of men and women that came through. Well worth a visit if gaols are your thing and an important insight into social history ‘ the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members’ . It’s well worth reminding yourself of this as you walk round. The State Library of Victoria is almost bang opposite so good to combine.
    Visited February 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 8, 2023
  • FlashAdele
    Gosford, Australia231 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Learn about life in the old jails
    I recommend a visit to the Old Melbourne gaol when in Melbourne. The tour with expert commentary is quite interesting and educational with talks about various inmates the most famous of which is Ned Kelly. Jails were tough places then
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 15, 2023
  • Mike S
    London, United Kingdom125 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Really interesting tour with a great funny guide
    We had a trip to the old jail. Troy was our guide and he made it so enjoyable. He was a really funny guide and kept us entertained with stories and anecdotes. Inside it was interesting to get a feel of what life was like on the inside, some good exhibits. All in all an afternoon well spent.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 18, 2023
  • Thehallgang
    153 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Melbourne history at its best
    Wonderful visit today. We traveled to Melbourne from Manchester England , and our visit to the old Gaol was one of the highlights. As English National trust members , we appreciate the work and effort by all the staff who give their time to this wonderful organisation!! Without them the buildings & history they protect would vanish and be lost. I would personally like to thank the ladies on the front desk , who welcomed us as English members, and showed great interest in our National trust and in my wife & I’s personal life . Thanks to them we enjoyed every minute of our visit and took away a little bit more of Australia’s wonderful history. Thank you ladies.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 20, 2023
  • Jeffry b
    Essendon, Australia14,355 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Many prisoners were hanged here
    The Old Melbourne Gaol is sinister, but it is quite fascinating. It was Melbourne's principal gaol for many years, when the prisoners were locked up in tiny cells. Many prisoners were hanged there, including Australia's most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly. Many of the prisoners were pathetic, they were obviously mentally ill. The Old Melbourne Gaol is one of Melbourne's top tourist attractions, be sure to book in advance.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written November 22, 2023
  • flo220
    New York City, New York334 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting historic site with informative audio tour
    Very interesting old jail to visit right in the middle of the city. Lots of historical stories about prisoners who were there throughout the ages. We got there too late for a guided tour but were able to download an audio tour which was very interesting. Definitely a must see in Melbourne.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 7, 2023
  • Morgan L
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    City Watch House tour was very well done
    Thoroughly enjoyed the City Watch House tour this morning. Our “Charge Sergeant” tour guide was fantastic. She was in character from the moment we began and set the perfect atmosphere. She was incredibly knowledgeable and informative.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled with friends
    Written January 27, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,270 reviews
Excellent
1,844
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1,114
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252
Poor
32
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An1ta069
Melbourne, Australia182 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
A short walk from the State Library, you will find the Old Melbourne Gaol. Another historical site worth a visit, highlighting a time where committing a crime had you spending time in the gaol almost regardless of your age, gender or severity of the crime.
Hard to imagine living in the conditions as you walk through the small cells, read the stories of the people who were prisoners at the gaol or where hanged and the conditions the inmates were subjected to.
A harsh period in Melbourne history during the gold period, you have the option of walking through by yourself, downloading an audio tour or for the adventurous, doing the Melbourne Gaol night tour.
Take your time, talk to the wonderful guides who are stationed along the way, walk outside and find further historical areas of significance.
Well worth taking the time to visit and take in some of Melbourne's not so nice history.
Written April 7, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael J
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Biggest rip off, really disappointed. $145 for our family. Took about 15mins to walk around the whole place, every area was the same! $10 entry seems more appropriate for this place.
Written March 31, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Julia G
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
My 18 year old daughter and myself went to Old Melbourne Gaol today. We both loved it.

We did The Watch House Tour and The Escape Artists Tour as well as a self guided tour through the Gaol. $5 per person per tour so all up an extra $20. We were there for quite a few hours and took our time to read the history in a lot of the cells.

Interesting and entertaining. The architecture is fascinating.

Lots of stairs to walk up to level 2 and 3. We went during school hours - not too many people when we first arrived however quite a few large school groups arrived while we were there. A bit noisy and a little challenging to get around them.
Written March 26, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bevvers67
Worcestershire, UK345 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
As I love a bit of grisly history, this place was right up my street.

Famous as the hanging place of Ned Kelly, it's steeped with history & possibly the ghosts of the many unfortunates who died within its walls.

Inside are many cells on three levels, most of which are devoid of anything except the scratchings on the walls & doors from times gone by. Some have furnishings of the time & others have displays or boards with information. There are lots of 'death masks' & a replica of the sort of armour Ned Kelly would've worn.

Not for the faint hearted, but I was fascinated (in a macabre way) by where the hangings took place. The trap door, the workings of it from above & below (my engineer husband was practically interested in how it worked) & just the overall eerie feel. Very sad & sobering to think of the terror those poor souls must've felt facing that fate.

There's a free tour around the outside of the building that is definitely worth doing - it gives you more stories of life in the gaol, attempted escapes & a view of the amazing architecture, as well as some awesome trees.
Written March 22, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jan D
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
The extra tour about people who escaped from the gaol, is great value and very interesting. The guide gave graphic descriptions of criminals planning, researching and escaping through sewerage pipes, and being captured again!
She pointed out way the design of the old gaol was pyschological as well as physical punishment, things you might not see just looking yourself.
Written March 19, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ann G
Hampshire, UK21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
This was a very entertaining and professional tour with great information into the history of this Gaol. The guide was excellent and very dramatic in the way he put across the stories related to this place. A very good evening out.
Written February 17, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DJ
Levin, New Zealand95 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We decided, given we had a couple of hours spare in our day that we would visit here (we visited Fremantle Prison when we were in Perth also and enjoyed that).
It was easy to get on foot and access to the ground floor was suitable for mobility difficulties, however there remaining 2/3 is completely out of the question and this was not made clear enough to us before committing to entry fee being paid.
There are two options for your tour self guided (with optional audio download to smart phone, $5 extra) or guided tour.
We self guided as we could set our own pace that way, most cells were open and had written information on inmate history and other details of interest.
This is unsurprisingly a dark and at times chilling place to visit and the Victorian architecture and general vibe supports the dark past and leaves visitors in NO DOUBT that it was an unpleasant place to end up.
Written February 8, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Morgan L
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Friends
Thoroughly enjoyed the City Watch House tour this morning. Our “Charge Sergeant” tour guide was fantastic. She was in character from the moment we began and set the perfect atmosphere. She was incredibly knowledgeable and informative.
Written January 27, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cannygirl
Lake District, UK102 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
Really enjoyed the visit, the information provided on boards make an interesting read and the death masks are a gruesome reminder of its history and some of its inmates.

It was fairly busy when we visited and there was slight wait to get into the cells where the information boards are housed

I did think the entry fee was on the expensive side at $35 each tho’
Written December 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

flo220
New York City, NY334 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
Very interesting old jail to visit right in the middle of the city. Lots of historical stories about prisoners who were there throughout the ages. We got there too late for a guided tour but were able to download an audio tour which was very interesting. Definitely a must see in Melbourne.
Written December 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Old Melbourne Gaol

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